« السابقةمتابعة »
office with exemplary diligence and upon the uniform regularity of his life; faithfulness. His talents and learning but upon the mercy of God, through the frequently drew to his house, young atonement of Christ and the sanctifying men, who were either preparing for cole influences of the Holy Spirit. He vierlege, or attending to the higher brancb- led true religion to be more than exter. es of science. With the exception of nal morality. "I have, he writes, cona severe affliction in the death of the sidered the exercise of disinterested be. wife of his youth, he enjoyed the smiles nevolence, as determining whether we of Providence, and seemed to have be. i have passed from death unto life.” Ile fore bim a bright prospect of eminent professed his belief in the doctrines of and protracted usefulness.
grace, and endeavoured to inculcate But, it has pleased God, whose wis- them upon his hearers, as the words of dom is unsearchable, to put an untimely eternal life. period to his labours, and to destroy As a preacher, Mr. Wheaton excelled, his hopes' and those of his affectionate in the correctness and elegance of his people, in the very ‘midst of his days.' style, and the gracefulness and animaEarly in 1823, his bealıb began to de- tion of his delivery. Though his miniscline, under a malady, which baffled the trations were not accompanied with any skill of the ablest physicians, and after | very general effusion of the Holy Spirnear two years of languishment and dis it; yet we trust they were not in vain tress, terminated his life.
to all his hearers, but were savingly besAmidst the decays of nature, and in eficial to numbers, who will be his crown the near view of death, it is said, by of rejoicing in the day of the Lord. those who saw and conversed with him, The death of such a man, at such an that he exhibited peace of mind and en. age, and in such a season of abounding tire submission to the will of God. The error and wickedness, is a heavy loss, hope which cheered him, while de not only to his bereaved people, but to scending into the valley of the shadow the world, a d loudly calls the friends of of death, it is believed, was not built Zion to bumility and prayer, to diligence upon his amiable natural qualities, nor and activity in the service of Christ.
SELECTED POETRY. “The day is thine ; the night also is Those hues that make the sun's decline
thine ; thou hast prepared the light So soft, so radiant, Lord ! are thine. and the sun. Thou hast set all the borders of the earth; thou hast made When night, with wings of starry gloom, summer and winter."-Psalm lxxiv, O'ershadows all the earth and skies, 16, 17.
Like some dark beauteous bird, whose
plume Thou art, oh God! the life and light Is sparkling with unaumber'd dies;
Of all this wondrous world we see ; That sacred gloom, those fires divine, Its glow by day, its smile by night, So grand, so countless, Lord ! are thine.
Are but reflections caught from thee. Where'er we turn, thy glories shine, When youthful spring around us breathes And all things fair and bright are thine. Thy Spirit warms her fragrant sigh ;
And every flower the summer wreathes When day, with farewell beams delays Is born beneath that kindling eye.
Among the opening clouds of even, Where'er we turn, thy glories shine, And we can almost think we gaze, And all things fair and bright are thine. Through golden vistas, into heaven;
To Correspondents.-J. has our thanks for his correct exposition of I. Peter, iii, 17, but he will perceive, that it came too late for insertion.-We are supplied with Sermors, for the present, and would be obliged to our correspondents for Essays, Expositions, Answers to Questions, and, especially, for Original Poetry of which there is a great dearth. Biographical Sketches, accounts of Revivals of Religion, and relations of Religious Experience, would be very acceptable - It will not be expected, that we should give a premium for communications, written in cipher, or in characters so illegible, or a style so incorrect, as to need transcribing.–Subscribers, who possess extra copies of any of the past Numbers of this work, will confer a favour by transmitting them to the Publisher, or to either of the Agents, named on the cover. –The request of Timotar will be granted.- A valuable communication subscribed by APOLLOS, and another by Common SENSE, are received.
І, Јонх, і. 10. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word
is not in us.
WHETHER, at the time this I. Who are those, that virtually epistle was written, there were say, they have not sinned? any nominal Christians, so igno- II. How does it appear, that rant of the Divine law and of such make God a liar? themselves, as to say, in so many 1. I am to enquire, who those words, that they had not sinned, is are, who virtually say, they have a point neither easy nor important not sinned? to determine. The apostle mere- There may be some, bold enough ly makes the supposition, that to say this explicitly; but, if not, there might be some so self-right- there are many who do not hesitate eous; and, if there were those, to say what implies it. And, who had the presumption to say, 1. Those virtually say they have what implied that they were not not sinned, who presume to say, guilty of siu, there was sufficient they have never acted from selfish occasion for his monitory declara- motives. While many deny the tion. It makes no material differ-existence, and some, the possibilence, whether we say, expressly, ity of disinterested benevolence; that we have not sinned, or say nothing is more common, than for what implies and amounts to the all sorts of singers to profess besame thin All, who do this, nevolent motives and feelings.make God a liar, i. e. they contra- How often do we hear them say, dict his word, and thus impeach in reference to their past conduct, his veracity; and, of course, his that they meant well, that they word is not in them; i. e. they had a sincere regard to the good have in them no belief and appro- of their fellow-creatures, that they bation of the word of God." As aimed, ultimately, at the public there were, probably, some such, welfare? How rarely do we hear in the time of the apostle; so there them own, that their views and are many such at this day; which feelings have been supremely selrenders it as proper and necessary fish, and that they never sought a to explain and apply his words, higher end, then their personal innow, as it was for him originally terest? to write them. In order to this, Now, those who profess to hare it seems needful to answer the always had benevolent feelings, two following enquiries:
and to have always acted from be
nevolent motives, virtually say, | virtually say they have not sinned. they have not sinned. For, as the How often do we hear this said: apostle says, “ sin is the transgres- | There are various grounds, upon sion of the law:” and that, which which it is maintained, that men transgresses the law, must be op- are unable to keep the law of God. posite to that which the law re- Some say, that men are unable to quires. The Divine law requires keep the law of God, because of supreme love to God, and impar- original sin, or their having derirtial love to men. That, which ed a corrupt nature from Adam. transgresses this law, is selfish- Some say, that men cannot keep
In this, therefore, all sin the Divine law, because, not only consists. Selfishness is the evil their hearts, but the natural powheart, the carnal mind, which is ers and faculties of their minds, not subject to the law of God. are depraved. Others deny the Those, then, who have never pos- ability of men, in their natural sessed selfish affections, or acted state, to keep the law of God, on from selfish motives, never com- account of their dependence upon mitted any sin.
the influences of the Holy Spirit 2. Those virtually say they have for a new heart. not sinned, who maintain, that it But, if it be a fact, whatever is right and virtuous to feel and
may be the ground of it, that men act selfishly. It is a sentiment, are unable to keep the Divine law; entertained by many, and advo- nothing can be clearer, than that cated by some, who would be con- they are not to blame for their sidered as philosophers and di- transgressions. Surely, the Judge vines, that all virtue originates in of all the earth, who will do right, self-love. They discard the idea cannot hold them guilty for transof disinterested benevolence, as a gressing a law, which He has not chimera. Some even deny the given them power to keep. But, possibility of disinterested love, if men are not to blame for transand
argue, that the man Christ Je- gressing the law; then it is not sus, and even the Supreme Being, sinful for them to transgress it. are actuated by sell-love, in all the transgression of the law can their works and designs. ·Hence, never be sin, in the case of those, they justly conclude, that all good who are unable to keep it, and actions proceed from selfish mo- therefore, blameless for transgrestives, and that the sublimest virtue sing it. Those, therefore, who never rises above an ultimate and maintain that men are unable to supreme regard to personal inter- keep the law of God, virtually say est private
they have But, trose, who think and argue 1 14. Those, who maintain, that in this manner, virtually say they because God governs the moral as have not sinned. As they deny well as the natural world, and is the existence of disinterested love, the first or efficient cause of all they are proved, by their own tes the moral exercises of men; theretimony, to have always felt and fore they are not free agents, canacted selfishly, 'And if it be vir- not help doing as they do, and are tuous and right so to feel and act, no more accountable for their acthen they have always been virtu- tions, than the wind that blows or ous and upright, and ought to be the fire that burns, virtually say exonerated from the guilt of sin. they have not sinned. For, if
3. Those, who plead, that they they believe, as they professedly are unable to keep the Divine law, do, that God does really govern
the hearts and move the wills of they all seek their own things. men, in all their moral exercises The sacred writers represent the and actions; and if they sincerely wicked, as acting from selfish mobelieve, that it from thence fol- tives, in all their criminal conlows, that men are not free agents, duct. For any, therefore, to mainnor accountable for their actions; tain that they have never possesit is impossible, that they should sed selfish affections or acted from ever feel guilty for any of their selfish motives, is to contradict the feelings or conduct, and equally plainest declarations of scripture, impossible, that they should be
as well as the testimony of univerconvinced, that they have sinned. sal experience and observation. I may add,
2. l'hose, who say they have 5. Those who argue, that be- not sinned, because it is right to cause God designed and will over- feel and act selfishly, call in quesrule all the actions of men for his tion the veracity of God. 'The own glory and the general good of very words of the Divine law, as the universe; therefore one action it is summarily explained by our is as good as another, and God has Saviour, refute the notion, that no reason to blame men for
of virtue originates in self-love. For their conduct; virtually say they one to love God with all the heart have not sinned If, as these per- and his neighbour as himself, is sons profess to believe, the nature to be disinterested. No one can of the free moral actions of men, love any being besides himself, is to be determined by the ultimate with a selfish affection.
A greatend which they are made to an- er absurdity cannot be named, swer, in the government of God, than the supposition, that self-love and it be true, that God does de- may be so refined, as to become sign and overrule all their actions that pure affection towards God for good; it will follow, demon- and man, which the Divine law restrably, that none of mankind have quires. The nature of things must sinned. It is now time to en- be changed, and all moral distincquire,
tions confounded, before men can II. How it appears, that those, be induced, by selfish motives, to who thus say they have not sinned, deny themselves, forsake all they make God a liar.
have, render good for evil, and do “ All scripture is given by in- all things to the glory of God. spiration of God;" and is to be re
Those, who maintain, that it is ceived as his word. Whatever,
Whatever, virtuous to feel and act selfishly, therefore, plainly contradicts any are like the wicked men describpart of sacred scripture, impeaches ed by the apostle, who say that the Divine veracity, and virtually gain is godliness: they · put evil charges Him, who cannot lie, with for good, and discard the distincfalsehood. Here, ther, it may be tion, which runs through the scripobserved.
ture, between the righteous and 1. That those, who virtually the wicked, between the carnal say they have not sinned, because mind, which is enmity against God, they have never acted from selfish and the spiritual mind, which is motives, make God a liar. We life and peace. are expressly told, in sacred scrip- 3. Those, who say they have not ture, that men, in their natural | sipned, because of their inability state, are lovers of their own selves to keep the Divine law, contradict --covetous-lovers of pleasure God. By enacting and promulmore than lovers of God; and that ' gating his law, God holds all men
bound, and therefore able, to keep | He has forbidden, and threatens it. Surely, if the law be what the to punish them for all their transapostle pronounces it, holy, and gressions. I will mention a few just, and good, it can never re- instances. While God sent Joquire of men, more than they have seph into Egypt, his brethren were natural power to do. “ If there condemned for selling him to the be first a willing mind, it is ac- Ishmaelites. God hardened the cepted according to that a man heart of Pharaoh and made him hath, and not according to that obstinately refuse to let Israel go; which he hath not." The Divine and, at the same time, He threatlaw demands no more than all the ened to punish him, signally, for strength, or natural ability. It is his disobedience to the Divine a dictate of conscience, as well as mandate. God turned the hearts the representation of scripture, of the Canaanites to hate his peo
, that the moral depravity of men, ple and to deal subtilly with his which consists, entirely, in their servants;' while, at the same time, voluntary, selfish exercises, does He denounced against them the not, in the least, diminish their heaviest of his judgments, for their ability to keep the Divine law. hatred and perfidy. God moved
· Neither ability, nor inability, be- David to say, Go number Israel longs to the heart, or will. The and Judah;' and yet he held David ability of men to do their duty, as guilty and deserving of a severe remains the same; whether they punishment for his sin in that are willing or unwilling to do it. particular. The Assyrian monWhen unwillingness, or aversion arch was as a rod, a saw and an of heart, is called by way of dis- axe in the hand of God, to chastinction, moral inability; the ex- tize his revolted people; yet he pression is plainly figurative and threatened to punish the stout improper. And, when it is said heart and the glory of the high
, in scripture, that the wicked can- looks of that haughty despot, not serve the Lord cannot cease when he should have accomplishfrom sin—and cannot come to ed, by his instrumentality, his Christ; nothing more is meant, whole work of correction
Jethan that they are altogether a- rusalem and mount Zion. The verse and strongly opposed to those Jews and Romans, who crucified duties, which they are required Christ, did what God's hand and and well able to perform. In per- counsel determined should be done; fect consistency with these ex- but they were held deserving of pressions, God calls upon men, wrath to the uttermost, for what, in his word, to cease to do evil- with wicked hands, they had done. to turn unto him with their hearts And why should the Divine agento make themselves a new heart cy, in causing men to choose and -and to repent and believe the refuse, to act freely in view of gospel.'
motives, at all diminish the crimi4. Those, who say they have not nality of their selfish, sinful feelsinned, because they are absolute- ings and conduct ? Neither the ly dependant and God causes all criminality nor the commendabletheir moral exercises, call in ques- ness of an action, consists in its tion his veracity. For while God, cause, but in its nature. The hoin his word, clearly and repeatedly exercises of saints are not the ly asserts his universal providence less amiable and praise-worthy, or agency; He, at the same time, because they are produced by the condemns men for doing anything Holy Spirit: and why should the